What if you wake up one morning and you aren’t a vampire?
It’s not something that’s immediately obvious. I mean, if you are the kind of vampire that sleeps through the day then you may start to worry about insomnia – and possibly not for the first time. Maybe there’s a bottle of sleeping pills by the bed for just such an emergency. God knows we have a lot on our consciences. There’s a lot to be said for sleeping like the dead.
If you are the kind of vampire that’s terrified of sunlight, perhaps because the mere touch of it would ignite your flesh and start a conflagration that leaves nothing but your ashes, then you will not be in any hurry to experiment, but it’s likely you will suspect something has changed.
If you have the godlike powers that books and films ascribe to us, your sudden and inexplicable weakness will certainly prompt the suspicion.
But if you are the pathetic creature that passes for a vampire in the real world, none of these wild fantasies is true. Except, of course, the insomnia.
So you wake up, like usual, and have a shower. Boil the kettle and fill the teapot, letting the tea brew while you dress for the day. These things are routine. You do them because you always do them. You put the television on and watch Breakfast TV while you sip your tea.
Which tastes different today. It’s a little bland. A little disappointing, really, just like the shower had been, not as rich in the delicate fragrance of almonds and carnations as you are used to.
Not that tea is ever truly satisfying, not in the way a lover’s blood is satisfying.
Strangely, the blood of a lover has little appeal. The memory of your fangs penetrating a lover’s neck at the moment of their greatest pleasure is usually sufficient to awaken your hunger for more of the same. Instead you find yourself wishing for something simpler. A bowl of cereal. Weetabix, perhaps. Dusted with sugar and drenched in semi-skimmed milk.
Which is absurd! You know full well that drinking milk will make you violently ill – and even if you could eat Weetabix, with or without milk, there’s none in the house.
You dismiss that thought. It’s not the first time you’ve had a food craving, but it is a little odd that Weetabix excites you more than blood. (The errant thought of trying Weetabix with blood just makes you laugh.)
It’s more than odd – it’s worrying. If you have lost your taste for blood – and of course you haven’t; there’s no need to panic – it’s going to be a lot harder to feed when you need to. It’s the hunger for blood, that absolute and undeniable craving for blood, that makes it effortless to pierce human skin. (Less than effortless, even. It takes effort not to – like trying to keep two magnets apart. The blood calls to the fangs.)
How difficult it would be without that craving! What joy would there be in being a vampire without that ecstasy? Life – or undeath, if you prefer – would truly be a horrendous existence.
Idle thoughts. Worries. You dismiss them. Leave them behind you as you step out into the world. You are a vampire. The world is yours.
But then you smell it and all that confidence comes crashing down, because suddenly the only thing you can think about is how badly you want a bacon roll.